Patent policy, patent pools, and the accumulation of claims in sequential innovation
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We present a dynamic model where the accumulation of patents generates an increasing number of claims on sequential innovation. We compare innovation activity under three regimes—patents, no-patents, and patent pools—and find that none of them can reach the first best. We find that the first best can be reached through a decentralized tax-subsidy mechanism, by which innovators receive a subsidy when they innovate, and are taxed with subsequent innovations. This finding implies that optimal transfers work in the exact opposite way as traditional patents. Finally, we consider patents of finite duration and determine the optimal patent length.
KeywordsSequential innovation Patent policy Patent pools Anticommons Double marginalization Complementary monopoly
JEL ClassificationL13 O31 O34
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